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Dave Bell

Pinedale Photographer Releases New Book Showcasing Beauty Of Seven Mile River Ranch

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

At the top of every Cowboy State Daily newsletter is the morning’s sunrise. It’s a very popular feature with our readers, and dozens of photo submissions come in throughout the month.

One of the more popular contributors is Dave Bell, the former executive vice president of the Colorado State Chamber of Commerce, who left the big city behind in 1993, and took up permanent residence in Pinedale.

“We had purchased a summer home in Pinedale,” Bell told Cowboy State Daily. “And so we became acquainted with the community and I was a pretty avid backpacker. And of course, photography was a large part of that as well.” 

Bell changed careers, becoming an insurance agent in Pinedale until his retirement at the end of last year. But his “focus” on photography is a recent “development,” according to Bell, who said that until a couple of years ago he didn’t own a decent camera because he didn’t want to spend the money on film.

“I think it was Christmas 2000, I opened up my present from my wife and it was a Sony digital camera,” Bell said. “And my immediate reaction was, ‘Why do I need this?’ But within 15 minutes I realized that this was a game changer. I was taking pictures and I was seeing them immediately. And so that’s when we say the arms race really began.”

Bell said his photography hobby has been a wonderful activity for he and his family to share – and his images have become so popular that he has 30,000 followers for the Facebook page dedicated to his work (Wyoming Mountain Photography), and he has released two books, the first of which was published last year, titled “COVID Through the Lens.”

“During the course of 2020, I shot over 100,000 images,” he said. “We were out so much, my wife and I, just doing lots of photo safaris.”

Because Bell had never published a book before, he got great advice from Cowboy State Daily’s Bill Sniffin, who himself has authored several coffee table books about Wyoming.

“I was having trouble finding a printer, and he came to my rescue and hooked me up with a printing company in Salt Lake, who I’ve become good friends with,” Bell said.

His second book, which was just released this spring, focuses on the historic Seven Mile River Ranch in Sublette County, and is titled “Dreams On the Green.”

“The owners of the Seven Mile River Ranch… they gave me complete access to this ranch, which is about 3,300 acres,” Bell said. “It’s seven miles of the Green River and other tributaries, and I discovered it is an absolutely amazing place.”

In addition to the historic value of the ranch, which was originally the Quarter Circle Five Ranch, Bell said the owners have improved wildlife habitat on the property.

“They have worked tirelessly to improve the fishery and the habitat along the Green River,” he said. “And that’s water quality and everything else. And the result of that is that it has become an incredible wildlife sanctuary.” 

A large portion of his most recent book features a mountain man rendezvous that the owners of the Seven Mile Ranch hosted two years ago.

“Six of the famous mountain man rendezvous occurred on this ranch back in the 1830s… at the confluence of Horse Creek and the Green River,” Bell said. “So we dedicated a chapter in this book to an authentic mountain man shoot that we conducted at the ranch two summers ago. We, in conjunction with the Museum Of the Mountain Man, hired seven or eight guys that played mountain man roles as part of their daily life. They’re members of the American Mountain Man Association.”

Bell said that David Wright, an authentic period painter from Tennessee, was also there to capture the event on canvas.

“He checked these guys over from top to bottom to make sure that everything that they were wearing was period, that they didn’t have a Citizens watch on the wrist by mistake,” Bell said. ‘We did it as close as you can come to a kind of a reenactment, but the photography that came out of that was stunning.”

Bell said that landscape photography is his ideal, however, as evidenced by the galleries on his website, wyomingmountainphotography.com. The photographs come from his frequent hikes and other outings with his wife.

“My wife enjoys going along,” he said. “She’s not a photographer, she’s a librarian. And so, she’ll sit and read, she’s not a hiker. So when I’m out hiking, I’m kind of a loner in that respect. And it allows me to focus more on composition and stuff.”

His photography expeditions have allowed him to capture stunning images, such as the photos of the night sky that he took at the Green River Lakes.

“I had carefully planned this, based on when the moon was not going to be rising, and when the Milky Way was going to be vertical,” Bell said. “And obviously as the Earth rotates, and as it hurtles through space, the angle of the Milky Way changes every night… but I wanted it coming out of the top of Square Top mountain, which is a pretty famous mountain. It’s a single shot. It’s not a composite. It’s like a 20-second exposure.”

Bell has so many images to share, that he tries to put something new on his website and his Facebook page daily.

“I try not to bury people in photography, but to give them something fresh every day,” he said.

Bell and his wife are already planning their next adventure.

“We purchased a fifth wheel that we just brought home in May,” he said, “And next summer, we’re headed to the Yukon for 40-50 days to get up to the furthermost point in the Northwest Territories, which is a little town called Tuktoyaktuk, located on the Beaufort Sea. We want to be there for the summer solstice.”

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Dave Bell: Photos From Sunday’s Lunar Eclipse

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By Dave Bell, Cowboy State Daily

I wanted something just a little different than just the moon.  So my wife and I headed north out of Pinedale. 

The moon was rising at 106 degrees off magnetic north which meant it was not going to rise over the mountains because it was so far to the southeast. 

So we headed north to change our perspective with real success. 

The moon rose on the north shoulder of Temple Peak, a 12,972 foot peak, which anchors the southern end of the range. 

We drove about 45 miles but it was worth it.

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Dave Bell: Politics In Wyoming Have Taken On A Bizarre Twist

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By Dave Bell, guest columnist

I have been following the bizarre events at the Legislature and asked several of my friends if they have ever seen anything as bizarre as what has transpired in the Wyoming legislature this year?   

The accusations, fights, stripping and removal of committee assignments or the newest headline regarding Senator James’ cell phone all mark new low points for civil discourse in our great state.

What has changed?  

I try to stay away from the Capitol.  It is big and humbling and while some good comes from that building, many times the opposite is true.  But – I have always been proud of the way our state’s business has been conducted, short and focused legislative sessions and our “citizen” legislators taking care of business.  There are not many states who operate as we do, and we should be proud!

No professional politicians allowed.  We have enough lobbyists to make up for professional politicians.

The trend over the past several years has left even me, with my rose colored glasses, concerned that something terribly wrong is afoot.  The civil decorum, which has generally prevailed, has been lost.  The politeness has given way to anger and sharp tongues.  This is not to say that there have not been major disagreements at the capital before.  For heavens sake, of course that is the case.  Now the grudges seem to be deeper and more sharp.

Some long time Wyoming residents wonder if it isn’t the keyboard.  The ability to write a mean and rude email, hit send, and have no consequences.  Or maybe we are emulating Washington, DC,  where rude behavior, use of extreme words and finger-pointing have reached a historic crescendo.

Possibly it is the arrival of non-Wyomingites.  They are bringing their learned behaviors to Wyoming from their former states.  That is how we conduct business in California or Colorado or New York, they might argue. 

But I think it is a couple things, which are more basic.

The concept of compromise has given way to hostility and intransigence.  As much as we don’t like compromise, sometimes it is necessary to a certain degree to effectively conduct the business of the state.

Maybe what we are losing is the result of one-party rule in our state.  I am a Republican but when we have the bellowing, yelling and arguing within our own ranks it seems maybe it is time for the rise of some “moderate” Democrats into office to interject a different perspective into the discussion.  I think there are a few left out there. 

Have the rules changed in some way to cause this mess of personalities?  Not to my knowledge.  As has been reported, the volume of citizen interest in participating at the capitol, in the discussions and debates by offering testimony, has significantly increased. 

This has put significant pressure on committees to conduct their business in a timely manner,  yet let all those who want to be heard be heard.  This puts pressure on our volunteer legislators to read all that testimony and understand it.  The stress of the job is becoming more intense.

One observation several of my friends and I have mused about is the number of “non-fiscal” bills which were introduced and considered during a “budget” session.  This is a 20-day session.  The focus should be on the budget.  There is plenty to consider and deal with.  Why muddy the water with so many controversial issues when it is a “budget session” and time is so severely constrained.  Sometimes just saying “no” is the correct decision.

Have the personalities changed to cause this mess?  Maybe that is the problem.  Maybe some of those who have been involved in the scuffles are not on the same page as “legislative decorum” insists.  A reconsideration regarding their attitude and RESPECT for the process, the capitol, and most importantly the citizens of Wyoming might be overdue.

I am not making any accusations against specific persons or events.  But sitting in my seat, in rural Sublette, a very low bar is being set in Cheyenne by some who appear to have an ideology or a chip on their shoulder or a lack of respect for the citizens of Wyoming.

Personally, it is time to clean it up.  This behavior is embarrassing to our state.  Accusations need to stop.  Finger-pointing needs to stop.  Grudges need to stop. It is time to put your “big boy or big girl pants on and do your job as an elected official”.  Leave the grudges at home.

Dave Bell


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Your Wyoming Sunrise: Thursday, November 25, 2021

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Happy Thanksgiving, Wyoming!

Today’s Wyoming Sunrise is from Dave Bell, of Pinedale, Wyoming.

Dave writes: “I was up at my usual time, too early, and after catching up on a cup of coffee and the news, headed out to Area 51 and was greeted with this! It was absolutely incredible to see the early alpenglow light on some pretty wild looking clouds. The first image was shot at 6:43am. The pano was the last, shot at 7:30am. This went on for a long time as the sun rose and the light changed at least a dozen times from orange to magenta to red-violet to red and back again. Truly an amazing morning.”

We feature a different Wyoming sunrise every morning.

To submit yours, email us at: News@CowboyStateDaily.com

NOTE: Please send us the highest-quality version of your photo. The larger the file, the better.

NOTE #2: Please include where you are from and where the photo was taken.

Note #3: We prefer horizontal (not vertical) photos. Thanks!

Note #4: Tell us about your sunrise!

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Dave Bell: Autumn in Grand Teton National Park

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

The beauty of Wyoming was on full display as we entered the first weekend of Autumn.

Who better to be our tour guide than Pinedale master photographer Dave Bell?

“Shot this last night (Thursday) at an undisclosed location in Grand Teton National Park,” Bell told Cowboy State Daily.  “Sunset last night was at about 7:15pm.  This was taken at 8:11pm—nearly a full hour after sunset.  I shot with a Lumix S1r, 70-200mm lens at 70mm, 50-second exposure.”

“The color just hung around.  Meanwhile, three bull elk were literally going crazy in the foreground—ripping, bugling and tearing stuff up.  The rut is in full swing!  Quite an evening—just didn’t want to leave,” he said.

We don’t want you to leave, Dave. We want more.

Thankfully, he shared eight more spectacular photos on his Facebook page. Check out the collage below and click on it to see all of them.

Or if you want to buy any of these, check out his website.

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Time-Lapse: Winds at Elk Mountain

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Our friend Dave Bell, from WyomingMountainPhotography.com, took this time lapse at Elk Mountain on Saturday afternoon.

Says Dave, “I shot this at the Medicine Bow exit on I-80 this afternoon as the winds were ripping about 40-60 miles per hour. The cloud flow over Elk Mountain is always fascinating. Simple time lapse on the iPhone. About two minutes of recording in 8 seconds.” 

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